11 things you should never buy at Trader Joe’s

Keep your wallet fat and your waist slim by knowing what to leave out of your cart.

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Never buy this at Trader Joe's
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Never buy this at Trader Joe's

Shredded mozzarella 

While the blocks of cheese are incredible quality for their price, you might want to skip the shredded versions. You’ll shell out $3.79 for a 16-ounce bag of mozzarella at Trader Joe’s, while the same costs just $2.18 at Walmart.

Lemonade 

There’s only a 30-cent price difference between TJ’s organic and original lemonades, making the organic version a steal. But costing at least $2.69, both options pale in comparison to the $1.76 you could pay elsewhere for your favorite summer sipper. Check out these other 11 things Trader Joe's employees wish you knew.

Burritos 

At first glance, the nutrition facts on a Trader Joe’s burrito don’t look too terrible: 300 calories, nine grams of fat, and 790 milligrams of sodium in one pollo asado wrap. But take a closer look and you’ll notice that’s only for half a burrito. Unless you have incredible self-control, you’re better off loading up corn tortillas with some homemade fillings to keep the stats down.

Coconut Oil

For its 16-fluid ounce size, the coconut oil at Trader Joe’s has about the lowest price you can find. If you’re a coconut oil addict, though, you’ll get a better deal buying in bulk elsewhere. TJ’s little jar of coconut oil costs about 31 cents per fluid ounce, while a bigger container will be about half that. But when buying in bulk, beware of these things you should never buy at Costco.

Sliced fruit 

A little grunt work will stretch your dollar. A small 16-ounce container of pre-sliced pineapple or watermelon will set you back $3.49, while you could get an entire pineapple for $2.99 or melon for just $3.99.

Tortilla Chips

While the two-pound value bag of white corn tortilla chips will save money over brand-name packages, its $3.49 price tag is slightly higher than the $2.98 you’d pay for generic brands at Walmart. Learn the story of the actual Trader Joe (he was a real person!).

Sunscreen 

While $5.99 for a can of spray-on sunscreen is a great deal, there are even cheaper options. Other stores offer a two-pack for just a couple dollars more than Trader Joe’s single can, meaning you get more bang for your buck.

Zoodles  

Even if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can quickly slice zucchini into thin “zoodles” with the help of a julienne peeler. Buying them ready-to-cook might save you a few extra minutes, but pound for pound, the zoodles also cost almost twice as much as a whole squash. Don't miss these other 20 shopping tips for all your favorite grocery stores.

Nuts & Fruits & Honey 

Nuts & Fruit & Honey might sound like nutrition in a jar, but don’t be fooled. With the ingredients “bathing” in honey, the calories add up—all the way up to a whopping 300 calories per quarter-cup serving! With 26 grams of sugar and almost no vitamins to speak of, this should go on your “skip” list, unless you can limit yourself to a small serving stirred into yogurt.

Lactose-free milk

While a gallon of the regular milk is a good deal at Trader Joe’s, the lactose-free version costs 80 cents more than at Walmart. Stick with Trader Joe’s almond milk instead, which costs about $1.10 less than the leading brand. Check out these other 40 smart ways to save at the supermarket.

Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Quiche 

Unless you have the self-control to resist eating the whole quiche in one sitting, you’ll be gobbling down nearly half your daily-recommended sodium (910 milligrams) in just one meal. Stack on 15 grams of saturated fat, and you’re better off whipping up an omelet yourself, throwing in an extra-big handful of broccoli. On the other hand, these are cheap things you should only buy at Trader Joe's.

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